Reviews, November 1991

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Royal Rolls-Royce Motor Cars by Andrew Pastouna, 223 pp. 11in x 7-3/4in. Osprey Publishing, 59 Grosvenor Street, London, W1X 9DA. £25.00.

For years, the British Royal Family favoured Daimlers. Then all that changed and the State Carriages in the Royal Mews became Rolls-Royces. This book is about those cars and very complete and interesting material it is. But do not get the impression that Pastouna ignores the Coventry make. Far from it. Indeed, Daimlers crop up in chapter after chapter and we are reminded that the make returned to Royal useage to a lesser degree than formerly in later years along with Rovers, Ford, Austin Princesses, and HRH Prince Charles’s present Bentley Turbo, etc.

Here is an author who exhibits enthusiasm for his subject and knows about it, having owned a pair of ex-Royal Daimlers, and who is now restoring a Hooper bodied Bentley. His book is exceedingly informative about the Rolls-Royces of the Monarchy and the illustrations, some in fine colour, coachwork drawings, reproductions of letters and invoices relating to these cars, etc, are absolutely in keeping. The chapters number 16, but no 13 is omitted because R-R never used it on their cars. It is a nice touch to devote many of them to individual users of the cars the book is about; thus “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Choice”, “The Queen’s First Phantom”, “A Brace of Phantoms for the Queen”, “The Queen Mother Becomes a Rolls-Royce owner”, followed by chapters about The Rolls-Royces of Princess Margaret, The Princess Royal, Princess Mary, the Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent, and The Princess Alexandra of Kent. The names given to the Royces used by these Royal personages are quoted but I will not spoil the author’s research by quoting them.

A final chapter is about the Royal Mews and a whole chapter is devoted to “The Move Away From Daimler”, in which the speculation does not funk suggesting the Docker poor taste as being a very likely factor. This is a book which no R-R EC member or R-R advocate will be able to resist. Little maladies that befell even the Royal cars are referred to, the enthusiasm of the Duke of Edinburgh for his first Rolls-Royce is very evident and this car is covered in much detail and the big mileages done by the Royal cars may come as a surprise to many. The photographs include many of the Royal Daimlers, including one rather sad one showing the Queen’s Rolls-Royce at a visit to the Royal Navy in 1953 with the late King George VI’s straight-eight Daimler relegated to the position of second Royal car. There is a picture of Hooper’s showrooms, a great many shots of car interiors, and your wife or girl-friend will want to look at the cars’ occupants.

HRH the Duke of Gloucester contributes the Foreword and the R-R EC and its headquarters get a mention. Very well done. Irresistible! It’s far removed from sporting motoring, but I am just about to read it again. — WB

***

Mazda MX-5 Le Mans — Mazda (UK) LTD, Tunbridge Wells. 156.5in x 65.9.in. £20,499.

In celebration of the company’s first-ever Le Mans victory this year, Mazda has built a limited edition eyesore. Looking like a cross between a stick of Blackpool rock and a jar of Swarfega, the MX-5 Le Mans is equipped with BBR turbo kit (boosting power to 150 bhp) and body addenda. It does not come with a free respray voucher, but that doesn’t appear to have dissuaded potential customers, as all 24 have now been sold at £20,499 apiece. — SA

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